Falling Prices of Potato: Farmers queue up at cold storages | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, March 18, 2020 / LAST MODIFIED: 02:19 AM, March 18, 2020

Falling Prices of Potato: Farmers queue up at cold storages

Queues of potato growers in front of cold storages in Dinajpur have been growing in the past few days, with the price of their fresh harvest selling at less than the production cost.

The growers said each kilogram of freshly harvested potato was selling for only Tk 8 to 10, below the cost of production.

They said they were storing the potato in cold storages with the hope to sell it later when the price would hopefully rise above their cost of production.

Potato is cultivated between October and December and its harvest peaks in March, they said adding that the produce is accepted at cold storages till the end of the month.    

According to the Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE) in Dinajpur, nearly 50 percent capacity of all the nine cold storages in the district have already been filled up (full capacity around 1 lakh tonnes or 19,80,000 of 50-kg bags) with fresh potato.

Farmers grew 9.80 lakh tonnes of different varieties of potato -- including Cardinal, Diamant, Asterix, Granola and Petrones -- on 48,914 hectares of land in 13 upazilas of Dinajpur this year. 

Mohammad Rupam, a potato grower in Birganj upazila, said based on the profits he made from the crop last season, he decided to grow potato this year too. 

However, the falling prices of the produce this season has prompted him to store around 30,000 bags in a cold storage.

The ongoing selling price of Tk 8 to 10 is not profitable, said Sirajul Islam, another farmer from Majadanga village in Dinajpur Sadar upazila. "It would be profitable if the selling price stayed at Tk 15 to Tk 18 per kg."

While visiting different cold storages in the district, this correspondent found long lines of trucks and tractor wagons, loaded with freshly harvested potato.

Farmer Dulal Hossain, from Biral upazila, said he grew 3.2 tonnes of potato on one acre of land this year, but "the crop is not profitable for farmers anymore" as he sold each kg of potato for only Tk 8 on Saturday.

"I decided to store all my harvest" as my production cost for the crop was Tk 40,000 or around Tk 12.5 per kg, he added.

Arzu Rahman Hiru, manager of Shahi Cold storage in Birganj upazila, said they charge Tk 250 for each 50-kg bag of potato and half the capacity of his facility was already filled up with potato harvested this season.

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